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Egypt raises monthly dollar deposit cap for staples imports, lifts the daily limit

Ahram Online , Tuesday 26 Jan 2016
Central Bank of Egypt
Central Bank of Egypt (Photo: AP)
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Egypt's central bank raised the cap on dollar deposits for staple imports to $250,000 monthly or its equivalent of the foreign currencies from $50,000 and cancelled the daily cap.

Along with basic commodities, companies importing production machinery, manufacturing components, and pharmaceuticals will now be able to deposit at the new caps in an attempt by the banking sector to facilitate these imports while regulating Egypt's imports, the bank stated on its website on Tuesday.

The central bank had imposed last February limits on foreign currency deposits of $50,000 per month and $10,000 daily, in an attempt to eradicate a foreign currency black market and tackle the country's foreign exchange crisis.

Restrictions remain valid on individuals and companies importing other products, the statement read.

The central bank also banned imports of finished products from companies that do not register with the Egyptian government.

The Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) has already imposed stricter rules on financing imports to prioritise essential, non-luxury goods. The aim is to reduce Egypt's import bill by $20 billion this year, after it reached $80 billion in 2015, CBE Governor Tarek Amer told Reuters in an interview on Wednesday.

Foreign currency reserves stabilised at $16.4 billion at the end of December; under half their level on the eve of the 2011 uprising which toppled autocrat Hosni Mubarak. 

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